Bishkek: Police in Kyrgyzstan have detained a brother of deposed president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, authorities said on Thursday, in a morale-boosting victory for efforts to round up the former leader's entourage.
Akhmat Bakiyev was captured on Wednesday night in a special operation on the outskirts of the family's political stronghold in the city of Jalal-Abad, which was ravaged last month by a wave of ethnic violence.
Police said Akhmat Bakiyev immediately confessed to involvement in the riots, which pitted ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities in Jalal-Abad and Osh against one another, leaving hundreds dead and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.
During the search of Akhmat Bakiyev's premises, police found a pistol, 75 rounds of ammunition, a wig, and a false moustache and beard, they said.
Authorities said he was to be taken to the capital city, Bishkek, later Thursday.
The success in tracking down Akhmat Bakiyev, who was widely described as the "shadow governor" of the Jalal-Abad region when his brother was in power, comes just one day after former deputy head of the state guard service Nurlan Temirbayev turned himself in to the authorities. Temirbayev was wanted on charges of murder and abuse of office.
Another Bakiyev brother, Zhanybek, used to be chief of the state guard service and is suspected by authorities of giving the order to open fire on protesters during the street uprising on April 07 that led to Kurmanbek Bakiyev's ouster. More than 85 people died during those clashes, which were fuelled by anger over corruption and falling living standards.
Zhanybek Bakiyev is still on the run, while Kurmanbek Bakiyev is currently living in Belarus. Kyrgyz authorities are seeking the former president's extradition, but Belarus has so far rebuffed those requests.
The interim government offered cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of several of Bakiyev's fugitive colleagues, including ex-Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov. The rewards of USD 20,000 to USD 100,000 are colossal in a country where the average monthly salary is USD 130.
Security service head Keneshbek Duishebayev this week made a grim assessment about the current state of security in Kyrgyzstan, warning that persisting tensions in the country still pose grave risks for the future. The arrest of Akhmat Bakiyev, however, will raise government hopes of boosting stability.
First Published: Thursday, July 22, 2010, 15:08